cat getting microchipped

Can You Track A Microchipped Cat?

Your cat’s microchip is not a tracking device, so can’t be used to track your cat. If your cat is taken to a vet or cat shelter then their RFID microchip can be scanned to reveal who the cat belongs to.

If you want to track the live location of your cat then consider getting a GPS cat tracker for them.

This will attach to your cat’s collar and you will be able to check where they are (and even where they have been) using a smartphone. 

Keep Your Cat’s Microchip Up-To-Date

The microchip itself doesn’t contain the pet owner’s information, it contains a unique 15 digit number that links to one of the UK databases.

There are a few different databases for microchips but it is easy to find out which database your pet’s microchip is linked to.

Once your cat has been microchipped you need to register and enter your contact information.

cat microchip being scanned
Cat Getting It’s Microchip Scanned

That’s it, there is nothing else you need to do unless your details change and need to be updated. 

The reality is that microchips are only useful if you keep your information updated.

It is vital you update the details on the database if you move house or your contact details change.

Telling your vet you have moved doesn’t update the microchip details. 

 If you have lost your cat you can check microchip databases by putting your cat’s microchip number in and searching.

If the microchip is in one of the databases you can click on it for more information and make sure the chip links back to you with up-to-date details. 

How Does A Microchip Work?

A microchip is a small electronic chip that is implanted under your cat’s skin between their shoulder blades.

Getting a microchip implanted takes a few seconds and once implanted it cannot be removed.

Once you have registered your details (this is usually a short online registration), the microchip holds the key to your contact details so if your cat is ever lost the vet/ rescue centre can contact you and reunite you with your cat. 

a microchip
A Microchip

You don’t need to do anything with the microchip to maintain it, you simply need to keep your details up to date.

The microchip doesn’t need any time, attention or maintenance to work and acts as a safety net if your cat is ever lost. 

As a microchip needs to be scanned to provide the information they are only useful if your cat is found by someone and taken to a vet or shelter.

Microchips are reliable and helpful but on their own, they cannot be useful in the active search for a lost cat.

This is why many owners also put an identification tag on their cat’s collar so anyone who finds your cat could contact you directly to let you know. 

Does My Cat Need To Be Microchipped?

Microchips are safe, effective and easy to implant.

A collar or tag can easily come off and get lost but a microchip cannot.

At the moment, it is not a legal requirement for owners to microchip their cat.

Dogs already need to be microchipped by law and it looks like this may extend to cats under the future animal care plan.

There are many benefits to getting your cat microchipped and it is an inexpensive procedure. 

As well as helping your cat come home if they are ever lost, a microchip has other uses too.

For example, if your cat has a microchip you can install a microchip cat flap that will only open for your cat and stops other cats from coming into your home. 

Is A Cat Microchip a GPS Tracker? 

No, a microchip does not use GPS or any navigation technology.

This means you cannot track a lost cat’s location using their microchip.

cat wearing a GPS tracker
Cat Wearing A GPS Cat Tracker

Microchips are not able to provide live tracking information so they can’t help you search for your cat.

For a microchip to help a lost cat, someone needs to scan the microchip and contact you.

The lost cat needs to be picked up by someone and taken to a vet/ shelter and scanned.

It also means your information needs to be kept up to date for a microchip to be useful. 

What’s The Difference Between A Microchip and A GPS Tracker? 

A microchip is a very small radio frequency identification device meaning it doesn’t need a battery.

Each chip has a unique number and a scanner held over the cat’s shoulder blades can pick this number up.

The ID number is then used to find the owner’s details on a database.

GPS trackers are designed to fit onto a cat’s collar and give you real-time location data on your cat, this is usually accessed through a smartphone app. 

GPS trackers are much bigger and heavier than microchips and require battery power to work so need to be charged up regularly.

It is easy for a cat’s collar to come off so even if your cat has an ID tag and a GPS tracker, this could come off if your cat snags their collar on a branch or fence.

There is no risk of this with a microchip as it is implanted and cannot be removed.

This is why it is always good to have your cat microchipped as a backup if your cat ever wanders too far from home.  

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